10 Under 10 Awards: Recognizing the ‘unsung heroes’ of the profession

Photo of 10 Under 10 winners
Excellence: The ADA named the recipients of its third annual 10 Under 10 Awards, which recognizes 10 new dentists who demonstrate excellence early in their careers. They are, from left, top row, Drs. William Arden, Wade Banner, Elizabeth Benz, Gabriel Holdwick, Brian Homann; from left, bottom row, Drs. Scott Howell, Mina Kim, Rebekah Lucier-Pryles, Ashely Popejoy and Nathan Suter. 
An advocate for teledentistry that has helped expand the practice in the state of Missouri. The owner of a house-call dental practice that provide dental services to those unable to travel to a traditional dental office. And a U.S. Navy lieutenant commander who implemented a new endodontic curriculum in Rwanda.
The ADA announced April 6 the recipients of its third annual 10 Under 10 Awards, which recognizes 10 new dentists who demonstrate excellence early in their careers.
Selected by the ADA New Dentist Committee from about 80 nominations, the recipients represent the unsung heroes of the profession, said Dr. Seth Walbridge, chair of the Subcommittee on New Dentist Engagement, which recommended the winners. Nominees and winners had to be active ADA members who graduated between 2010 and 2019.
“These are the dentists that you may not see in magazines doing 100 full mouth reconstructions, publishing their perfect smile design cases or placing 200 implants per year,” Dr. Walbridge said. “No, these are the unsung heroes out in our communities serving those in need or helping our profession in other ways that may not get them into a national magazine.”
The winners were chosen for making a different in science, research and education; practice excellence; philanthropy; leadership; and advocacy. The 10 Under 10 Award recipients are:
• Dr. Ashley Popejoy, of Nixa, Missouri. Serving as the director of pediatric dentistry at the Jordan Valley Community Health Center in Springfield, Missouri, Dr. Popejoy provides dental services to those from underserved backgrounds, manages staff, develops training protocols and serves as a liaison and mentor. Dr. Popejoy is also the clinical director of Special Smiles for the Special Olympics of Missouri.

• Dr. Brian Homann, of Elk Grove Village, Illinois. An adjunct professor at the University of Illinois Chicago College of Dentistry, Dr. Homann created a “Free Dental Day” for those in need in his private practice. In addition, he created a mobile dentistry set-up that serves those who cannot leave their homes. Dr. Homann is currently the dental team leader for Refugee One, where he is tasked with starting a dental clinic that serves new refugees from Burma, Bhutan, Iraq, Somalia, South Sudan and Syria.

• Dr. Elizabeth Benz, of Providence, Rhode Island. Dr. Benz serves as the director of the Samuels Sinclair Dental Center at Rhode Island Hospital and as program director of the Joseph S. Sinclair General Practice Residency. Dr. Benz also manages a multi-million dollar hospital-based practice specializing in intellectually disabled individuals and medically complex patients. She has procured two grants from Delta Dental of Rhode Island for charitable dental care, equipment and technology upgrades.

• Dr. Gabriel Benedict Holdwick, of Harbor Beach, Michigan. Dr. Holdwick has served at the local, state and national level of organized dentistry, while continuing his leadership involvement with the American Student Dental Association, and is the recipient of the Michigan Dental Association’s New Dentist Leadership Award. Dr. Holdwick is also active in his community, volunteering with the Grice House Heritage Association and the Harbor Beach Rotary Club.

• Dr. Mina Kim, of New York City. Dr. Kim serves as the secretary with the New York County Dental Society, co-founded the Woman to Woman Dentist Network, was a graduate of the ADA’s Institute for Diversity in Leadership and currently serves on the dean’s strategic advisory committee at New York University College of Dentistry. Dr. Kim also founded the NYCDS Give Kids A Smile Day event and provides pro bono dental services to sex trafficking victims.

• Dr. Nathan Suter, of Kirkwood, Missouri. Dr. Suter is the CEO of Access Teledentistry and owner of Green Leaf Dental Care. In partnership with the Missouri Dental Association, Dr. Suter worked to pass state legislation that expanded the use of teledentistry in Missouri. In addition, he has developed a teledentistry training workshop and has spoken nationally on the topic of teledentistry. In 2019, he received the Dentist of the Year award from the Missouri Dental Association.

• Dr. Rebekah Lucier-Pryles, of White River Junction, Vermont. Dr. Lucier-Pryles co-founded Pulp Nonfiction Endodontics, an educational collaborative that provides evidence-based endodontic continuing education. She is also a postgraduate department assistant clinical professor at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine and teaches at the Harvard University School of Dental Medicine.

• Dr. Scott Howell, of Phoenix. An educator and mentor since 2015 at A.T. Still University, Arizona School of Dentistry and Oral Health, Dr. Howell has created a teledentistry curriculum for dental students working with individuals with special needs, the elderly and those currently in juvenile detention centers.

• Dr. Wade Banner, of Glendora, California. Dr. Banner is a proud owner of In Motion Dentists, a house-call dental practice that is able to travel and administer services to those who are unable to be seen in traditional dental offices due to physical and/or mental limitations. He also works with multiple senior living facilities, memory care facilities and sees patients in private homes.

• Dr. William “Brennan” Arden, of Foxboro, Massachusetts, U.S. Navy. Dr. Arden’s service in the military has included initiating and planning the first dental summit in Vietnam, and spending two months in Rwanda teaching dental students and implementing a new endodontic curriculum. He is also an avid philanthropist, taking on a year-long humanitarian effort where he led a team in treating 4,000 dental patients and performed 12,000 dental procedures valued at over $1.2 million.

“The contribution of new dentists has been incredibly important to inspire others to take pride in our profession,” Dr. Walbridge said. “In particular, I have personally been inspired by the tremendous forms of outreach being done.”

The recipients of the 10 Under 10 Awards will receive a $1,000 cash prize and be recognized in various ADA publications and channels, including the ADA News and the ADA New Dentist News.

For more information on the 10 Under 10 Award recipients, visit ADA.org/10under10.